Groups of migrants in Turkey headed toward its borders with Greece and Bulgaria on Friday (February 28), a Reuters reporter said, after a senior official said Ankara will no longer stop Syrian refugees from reaching Europe.
On Thursday, Turkey said 33 Turkish soldiers were killed in an air strike by Syrian government forces in Syria’s northwestern Idlib region on Thursday.
The official subsequently told Reuters Turkish police, coast guard and border security officials had been ordered to stand down on refugees’ land and sea crossings towards Europe in anticipation of the imminent arrival of refugees from Idlib.
Turkey already hosts some 3.7 million Syrian refugees and has repeated it cannot handle more. Under a 2016 deal, the European Union has provided billions of euros in aid in return for Ankara agreeing to stem the influx of migrants into Europe.
(Production: Bulent Usta, Omer Berberoglu)